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Top Christmas cocktails and drinks

The festive season is fast approaching: a time for family, friends, food and some fabulous drinks. Somehow the frightful weather outside never seems as bad when you’re curled up on the sofa or in front of the fire, ‘Love Actually’ on telly and a glass of something warming in hand.

Here are my suggestions for the perfect naughty festive tipples. If you can’t indulge at Christmas, when can you? ‘Tis the season to be jolly, and after a few of these, you will be well on your jolly way.

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Cajun chicken quinoa lettuce bowls: Recipe and playlist

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It looks like I’m on a one woman quinoa crusade at the moment. I can’t get enough of the stuff. Those little nutty grains are just so yummy, and I always feel better eating them rather than pasta or white rice. The lettuce bowls are really easy to do but I think they are a bit more exciting than just serving the chicken with a simple side salad.

Playlist to accompany your cooking


Ingredients – Serves two, or one with good lunch leftovers

2 chicken breasts
1 cup quinoa
1 tbsp cajun seasoning
1 larger red onion – cut into slices
2 peppers – cut into slices
6 spring onions – cut into small pieces
1 chicken stock cube
Iceberg lettuce


Pre-heat the oven to 180C (fan oven).

Cut the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and coat in the cajun seasoning.

Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, wash your quinoa under the tap to rinse off the bitter coating. 

Add the chicken stock cube to boiling water, and cook the quinoa for 15 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, stir-fry the onion and pepper pieces for a few minutes until softer, but still with a crunch. Add the spring onion for the last couple of minutes. 

Drain the quinoa, and toss everything together.

With the iceberg lettuce, carefully peel off to form ‘bowls’ and serve the quinoa inside. 

Dress with a ranch dressing, or olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 

Photos on the way! They’re currently being held prisoner on my old phone, which doesn’t want to give them up without a fight.

Lime, chilli, honey, and ginger chicken kebabs with quinoa salad: Recipe and playlist

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It’s summer, it’s healthy, it’s tasty, what more could you ask for? Sticky chicken kebabs that work just as well on the barbecue, or in the oven, served with an easy quinoa salad dotted with bright colours.

Lime, chilli, ginger, honey, chicken kebab with quinoa salad

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Fresh basil pesto: Recipe and playlist

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The humble pesto: is there anything that isn’t improved by a big dollop of basil? This is one of those recipes that is so easy, and so quick, I’m annoyed at myself for not making it before. I’ve treated myself to the odd jar of fresh pesto at the farmers market, but mainly I’ve ploughed through jar after jar of Sacla.

If you have a spare five minutes, this is perfect for a quick midweek meal, either on pasta, or whatever your pesto preference. And you’ll feel so much more satisfied than reaching for that stockpiled Sacla.  

Pesto on pasta

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Coffee semifreddo: Recipe and playlist

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You should never break a promise, but it appears I have. I’ve left you all hanging (well perhaps one or two of you) with a lack of coffee semifreddo recipe to accompany your chocolate torte. I teased you with the torte, but what’s a torte without semifreddo (still wonderful but that’s not the point)?

As it’s stopped raining 24/7 and is down to around 23/6, this refreshing semifreddo is great in the sun on a lazy summer(ish) afternoon in front of the Olympics.

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